Watchstander positions – South Pacific

SEEKING: Watchstanders for a U.S. GO-SHIP repeat hydrography cruise in the Eastern and South Pacific (P18):

We are looking for graduate students in oceanography and climate science who are interested in participating in late 2016/early 2017 on one of the two legs of the Global Ocean-Ship-Based Hydrographic Investigations Program (GO-SHIP) decadal re-occupation of the meridional “P18” hydrographic section near 105°W in the Pacific Ocean.  Open positions are 2 CTD watch standers each leg and 1 assistant for the chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) tracer program each leg.

GO-SHIP cruises are as demanding as they are rewarding.  They take time, focus, and hard work.  They provide oceanographic insight, intuition, and a chance to meet colleagues in your field.  Support and travel is provided to watchstanders for the duration of the cruise (details below).


NOAA Research Vessel Ron Brown.

P18 (Leg 1):       

Departing from San Diego, USA in early November, 2016

Arriving Easter Island, Chile in mid-December, 2016

~35 days at sea

The line runs from north to south along 110°W to ~the equator, before jogging over to 103°W and continuing south to Easter Island.

Chief Scientist: Dr. Brendan Carter (NOAA/PMEL & UW/JISAO)

Co-Chief Scientist: Dr. Annie Bourbonnais (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

P18 (Leg 2);       

Departing Easter Island, Chile in mid-December, 2016

Arriving Punta Arenas, Chile in late January, 2017

~40 days at sea

The line runs south along 103°W to just beyond the Antarctic Circle, turning back for land near 67°S

Chief Scientist: Dr. Rolf Sonnerup (University of Washington)

Co-Chief Scientist: Dr. Sarah Purkey (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory)

THE REGION:  Click here for a Google Earth tour of the 2007/2008 cruise track, and here for graphics from the original 1994 occupation.  We’ll be repeating this to a first approximation.  P18N will cross the complex equatorial currents and the OMZs of the Eastern Tropical North Pacific while P18S will cross a central formation region for Antarctic Intermediate and Subantarctic Mode Waters in the energetic Southern Ocean.

DUTIES: These cruises operate 24/7 with 12-hour shifts each day.  CTD student duties include operating the CTD and rosette bottle system both on deck and in the lab, drawing and documenting water samples, and working on data quality control and analysis alongside the chief and co-chief scientists.  You may also be asked to assist other science groups and to contribute to the cruise blogs and videos.  CFC students will assist with the CFC sampling and analysis program. (Details below1)

SUPPORT: As part of the science team, these participants will receive graduate student salary (GRA stipend and tuition equivalent to that of a UCSD graduate student) for the duration of the cruise + travel. (2see below)

WHO CAN APPLY: Registered graduate students in good standing at US institutions (need not be US citizens).  Graduate students must have approval from their graduate advisors for participation.  If there are multiple qualified applicants for these positions, final selection will be made by the U.S. GO-SHIP Executive Committee, in consultation with the Chief Scientists and Principal Investigators.

Although preference may be given to students with ongoing research in regions spanned by P18, any student is welcome to apply for the CTD positions for which basic computer skills are required. Basic lab chemistry proficiency is required for the CFC positions. Training will be provided on board.

Post-docs: The program can consider non-students, but there is only funding to pay the cost of U.S. students (i.e. we may not be able to pay your full salary).

Undergrads: Yes it is possible to participate, however please note that preference will be given to students accepted into graduate programs.

APPLICATIONS AND QUESTIONS: should be sent to Chief Scientists Brendan Carter ( and Rolf Sonnerup ( at your earliest convenience.  Letters of application for the CFC Tracer positions should also be sent to John Bullister, the PI for these measurements (  You can apply for either the CTD or CFC positions (or both).  If applying, please provide your CV, provide a brief summary of your research interests and experience, indicate the positions & legs you are interested in, and include the name and e-mail address of your graduate advisor who will be asked for a reference.  Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the positions are filled.

WARNINGS:  Cruise dates and ports may shift before and during the cruise as we react to conditions at sea.  We do not recommend scheduling anything important either just before or after a cruise.  Both cruises are long and will likely pass through challenging weather with rough sea conditions at some point.  We therefore recommend that students who apply be reasonably confident that they can handle bad weather and being away from home for extended periods.    

1 Further details on cruise activities: (Blogs from some previous cruises can be found on in “Behind the Scenes”).  Station stops are planned every ~55 kilometers (closer over steep topography and near coasts), where we lower a CTD/rosette to measure the temperature, salinity, oxygen, currents and other dynamics from just below the sea surface to approximately 10 meters above the ocean bottom.  During each of these stations we also collect up to 36 water samples for measurement of various water properties, including a number of oceanic CO2-related parameters (dissolved organic and inorganic carbon, alkalinity, pH, pCO2), along with dissolved CFCs and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), dissolved oxygen, salinity and nutrients.  We continuously pump surface seawater through sensors for temperature, salinity, and partial pressure of CO2; operate standard meteorological sensors; operate a shipboard Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler; and collect along-track bathymetric data.  We also deploy floats and drifters along the track as requested. Additional experiments (TBD) are possible.

2 Financial support for student participants is provided through an NSF grant to UCSD/SIO, coordinated by Lynne Talley ( Graduate student support covers graduate research assistant salary and tuition remission at your institution’s normal rate, without overtime, for the time spent at sea, plus cruise-related travel. Foul weather gear can be provided.  Graduate student participants who choose to carry out a small additional at-sea research project in addition to their other duties, and who later work up a poster or talk on this project for presentation at a US scientific meeting, may be able to receive partial support for meeting attendance. This must be negotiated with Lynne Talley. A contract agreeing to the guidelines set out by the US GO-SHIP Oversight Committee must be signed before travel preparations can be made.


This cruise is a US contribution to the World Climate Research Program CLIVAR (Climate Variability) Repeat Hydrography Program and the UNESCO International Ocean Carbon Coordination Project. One may learn more about the international programs at, and

You can read more about the US Hydro program at:

You can find data and cruise reports from two previous P18 occupations at:

Section-based graphics and maps available from the online Pacific Ocean atlas at (click on Sections, and click on P18).

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